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Skrtel, Martin

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MARTIN SKRTEL PROFILE

 

by Dave Usher

 

 

 

Date of Birth - 15/12/84

Nationality - Slovakian

Position - Defender

Squad Number - 37

Cost - £6.5m

Club Hons (Lpool) -

Club Hons (other) -

Intnl Hons - Slovakian Caps

Other Clubs - FC Previdza, FC Trencin, Zenit St Petersburg

 

No nonsense Slovakian international centre half who joined the reds for a reported £6.5m from Russian club Zenit St Petersberg in January 2008. Skrtel is a strong, quick defender who caught the eye of a number of European clubs during his time with Zenit, and Liverpool had to beat off interest from Spurs, Valencia and Everton to secure his signature.

 

With Daniel Agger sidelined with a long term foot injury, Rafa Benitez felt he needed extra competition at centre half, where Jamie Carragher and the ageing Sami Hyypia were the only experienced options avalable to him.

 

A move for Milan's veteran defender Kaka Kaladze fell through when the club's owners refused to act as swiftly as Benitez wanted them to, prompting a huge fall out between the manager and his employers. But when Benitez then moved for Skrtel, this time he got his man.

 

Skrtel made his Liverpool debut as a substitute against Aston Villa in a 2-2 draw at Anfield, and his first start came a few days later in the FA Cup against Havant & Waterloovile, where he endured something of a nightmare afternoon against the non-league outfit.

 

In his defence, the Russian league season had finished several weeks earlier and Skrtel was clearly suffering from ring rust. In the first half against Havant he was all over the place, but he was much better after the break and could have got on the scoresheet with two headed efforts from set-pieces.

 

Skrtel is no stranger to the scoresheet, and in his first 22 international games for Slovakia he found the net an impressive five times. Goals were much harder to come by for Liverpool though, and he had to wait until November 2009 to open his account with a nice finish from a set piece against Manchester City at Anfield.

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